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Monday, May 20, 2024

Death toll rises to 74 in S Africa’s Johannesburg building fire


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Johannesburg: The death toll, caused by a building fire in the central business district of Johannesburg, South Africa, has risen to 74, local authorities said on Thursday.

“A total of 74 people perished when the flat they were staying in caught fire and left over 200 families homeless,” said Floyd Blink, Johannesburg city manager, at a media briefing on Thursday afternoon.

The occupants of the five-story building that caught fire had connected water and electricity illegally, he said.

“At this stage, we can confirm that as of 2:00 p.m. Thursday, 61 people were treated at various medical facilities in and around the city. And 16 have been discharged and 17 remain admitted, with the rest still receiving care at the casualty units,” said Blink, adding that they will take the families who were left homeless to some shelters around Johannesburg.

In a statement issued on Thursday evening, the Gauteng Department of Health said the 74 deaths include 40 men, 24 women, and 10 of undetermined gender.

The emergency management authorities of Johannesburg said earlier Thursday that they were informed of the fire at around 1:30 a.m. local time. The building has been turned into an informal settlement with an estimate of more than 80 shacks, and the fire spread quickly due to the combustible materials used to partition the rooms.

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